N Ireland laws on abortion, same-sex marriage, set to change

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Pro-choice activists take part in a photo call in the grounds of Stormont Parliament, Belfast, Monday Oct. 21, 2019. Abortion is set to be decriminalized and same-sex marriage legalized in Northern Ireland as of midnight, bringing its laws in line with the rest of the U.K. (Niall Carson/PA via AP)
Pro-choice activists take part in a photo call in the grounds of Stormont Parliament, Belfast, Monday Oct. 21, 2019. Abortion is set to be decriminalized and same-sex marriage legalized in Northern Ireland as of midnight, bringing its laws in line with the rest of the U.K. (Niall Carson/PA via AP)

London (AP) — Abortion is set to be decriminalized and the stage set for legalization of same-sex marriages in Northern Ireland as of midnight, bringing its laws in line with the rest of the U.K.

This is happening because British lawmakers voted last year in favor of changing these laws if Northern Ireland’s government wasn’t up and running by Oct. 21. Under the new measures, the U.K. government will take responsibility for putting new regulations in place to provide access to terminations. Women will be offered free transportation to access abortion services in England in the meantime.

Same-sex marriage will become legal in January.

Northern Ireland’s government has been suspended for more than two-and-one-half years amid a dispute between the major Protestant and Catholic parties, leaving Britain’s Parliament to make some key decisions.